A Kern County jury has convicted and recommended a sentence of death for a man accused of killing his transgender cellmate in Kern Valley State Prison in 2013.

Miguel Crespo had been serving a life sentence for a murder that occurred in Los Angeles County in 1993 when the Kern County District Attorney’s Office says he killed Carmen Guerrero, leaving his cellmate bound and gagged in the top bunk of their cell before alerting guards.

The DA’s Office says Crespo admitted to killing Guerrero, who was openly transgender.

The jury convicted Crspo of first -degree murder with a special circumstance of a prior murder conviction and assault by a prisoner serving a life sentence on Monday. The same jury delivered the death penalty verdict on Thursday.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Richard Choi.

DA Cynthia Zimmer said of the verdict, “We will continue to seek the death penalty on cases in which the killer has previously been convicted of murder and poses a significant risk of death or great bodily injury to staff and inmates in state prison in the future.”

The sentencing date is set for Dec. 5.

(1) comment


the Guardian..

Two years ago in California, a transgender woman named Carmen Guerrero was killed by her cellmate, Miguel Crespo, at Kern Valley state prison in California’s Central Valley. Crespo was in prison for a murder in LA County.

Guerrero’s previous cellmate, Jonathan Wilson, was her romantic partner. He said that he feared for her life following his transfer to another prison. On 28 October 2013, Wilson had been transferred to Salinas Valley state prison without much warning. “I fell for the kindness and sweetness in her heart,” he wrote in a letter. Over the phone, he later said that it didn’t matter to him that Guerrero was a transgender woman, and that he loved her and wanted to protect her.

He said that before he left, he tried to request for Guerrero to be placed in a cell with someone who would be “nice” to her, “but the CO didn’t want to”. After a day or two, he heard that Crespo had become her new cellmate.

According to Wilson, Crespo told the CO on duty that he would kill Guerrero if forced to bunk with her. On 1 November 2013, Crespo allegedly tied Carmen up, choked her to death, and informed the night CO that he had killed his cellmate.

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